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The rigorous requirements of the post-recession business environment have influenced the demands business travel clients place on chauffeured transportation operators.
Jammed schedules with little or no breathing room make it necessary for business travel clients to be efficient with their time. Operators who create the right experience that allows clients to be relaxed and productive can earn their loyalty and repeat business.
Barry Gross, executive director of Charlottesville, Va.-based A Goff Limousine and Bus Company, says he focuses his company’s pitch on the productive hours corporate clients can find in the car. “The caliber of clients we serve, like those from the University of Virginia, are extremely busy and looking for productive time. Dollars are not the enemy for them; time is the enemy.”
Gross believes the industry is doing a good job of stressing the benefits of chauffeured transportation while helping clients understand that it’s a defensible cost, not just a luxury.
“Perception of chauffeured transportation as a luxury is falling by the wayside as you actually drill down and weigh out the dollars-and-cents value of it,” he says. “When clients don’t have to worry about driving or finding parking or lugging bags on a trip, they’re able to spend that time answering emails on their smartphones, working on a laptop, or preparing for business meetings.”
This observation is echoed by Denis Jackson, COO of San Francisco-based Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, who says that business travel clients’ needs are based around comfort and workspace capability. “Business travelers and their employers want the transportation service to be as consumer-friendly as possible with seamless connectivity to the Internet,” Jackson says.
To meet these needs, Bauer’s buses offer tables, reversed seats with enough space in between them, abundant power supply, and fast Internet connectivity. These amenities “extend the office to the commuter coach.”
Business travelers also have moved away from ostentatious forms of travel, such as in limousines, to under-the-radar vehicles, says Chris Ritenour, national affiliate director of Laguna Hills, Calif.-based CLI Worldwide Transportation. Vans and minibuses have grown in popularity for group travel due to their low key appearances, cost-effectiveness, and ability to accommodate workspace amenities.